The postmortem report of a 26-year-old law graduate, who was found dead at her paying guest accommodation in east Bengaluru on November 24 — three days after she filed a sexual harassment case against a lawyer at a law firm where she interned and his friend who is a state government prosecutor — has revealed no signs of external injuries, strengthening the theory that she committed suicide by ingesting a poisonous substance.
“There are no signs of external injuries. We have sent the viscera to the forensic lab for pathology tests to identify the cause of death,’’ said a doctor who conducted the postmortem.
Archana Pushp Lall, who hailed from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, had filed a police complaint under IPC Sections 354 A (1) (sexual harassment) and 354 D (stalking) against advocate T Chandra Naik and his friend, Chethan Desai. The day before she died, her father Tulasi Lall, a senior advocate from Port Blair, had arrived in Bengaluru. They were scheduled to meet a police officer the next day to discuss the complaint.
Archana allegedly faced pressure from the lawyers not to file a police complaint and, later, to rethink her complaint. “There was a lot of pressure on the girl from many quarters regarding the case,’’ said a police source.
While Tulasi Lall arrived in Bengaluru Friday, he said he was yet to meet his daughter when he learnt of her death on Saturday.
When contacted, Tulasi Lall said: “I do not want to speak to anyone, please leave me alone.’’
According to sources, Archana initially sent her sexual harassment complaint in an email to the police on October 29. When a case was not registered, she approached the police directly. A case was eventually registered after she approached a senior officer, sources said. “There was no delay in registering the complaint…She was scheduled to record her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC on November 28. The accused surrendered before a court and obtained bail,’’ said an officer.
In her complaint to the police, Archana said she joined the law firm, Jayanth M Pattanshetti and Associates, in central Bengaluru in 2017 as a law intern after her graduation, and was assigned to work with Naik, who later introduced her to Desai. She alleged that Naik and Desai sexually assaulted her over a period of time at various places, after getting her to drink at pubs, restaurants and hotels around Bengaluru.
The state public prosecution department has asked Desai to go on leave.
Naik on Tuesday moved a civil court in Bengaluru seeking an injunction against media reportage of the sexual harassment complaint and the death.